Norma McCorvey, the "Roe" in Roe v. Wade, was arrested at the confirmation hearing of Sonia Sotomayor among a wave of anti-abortion protesters who lined the sidewalks outside the Senate office buildings.
The woman at the center of the Supreme Court’s landmark abortion rights
ruling was arrested today at the confirmation hearing for Sonia
Sotomayor among a wave of anti-abortion protesters who lined the
sidewalks outside the Senate office buildings and several of whom made
it into the hearing room and disrupted in an attempt to disrupt the
Norma McCorvey, 61, of Texas, better known as "Jane Roe" in the famous Roe v. Wade
case from January 1973, was arrested after she and another protester
started yelling during the opening statement of Sen. Al Franken
(D-Minn.), according to Capitol Police. McCorvey, whose pursuit of the
right to access to abortion in the early 1970s led to the ruling that
has been a pivotal part of every Supreme Court nomination process
since, eventually become a notable opponent of the procedure.
Pro-choice activists have proposed local city council ordinances to regain what anti-choice state laws have taken away. But anti-choice advocates are turning to city ordinances as well, and some are going for an all-out local abortion ban.
As some red states have become more hostile to abortion and birth control access, becoming reproductive rights “deserts” around the country, activists in some cities have proposed local city council ordinances to regain what anti-choice state laws have taken away. City councils have passed truth in advertising rules for deceptive crisis pregnancy centers, buffer zones around clinics that provide abortion or birth control, and a resolution reasserting the right to reproductive health care.
But city councils have also been used to block reproductive health-care access as well. Most recently, anti-choice advocates tried to convince the city of Wichita to rezone the area that includes South Wind Women’s Center, the first abortion clinic to open in the city since Dr. George Tiller’s clinic closed in the wake of his 2009 murder; the request was denied. Had the rezoning occurred, the clinic would not have been able to operate, and a large number of Kansans would have continued to lack safe abortion access in their region.
Meanwhile, a handful of anti-choice activists in the conservative city of Bakersfield, California, recently attempted to pass an extremely localized version of a “Human Life Amendment,” which would have outlawed abortion starting at the moment of conception.
The so-called Human Life Ordinance would have placed “Restrictions on Termination of Human Life,” according to the title of its text, making it “unlawful within the city of Bakersfield for any entity to receive any form of consideration for the purpose of killing any inhabitants of the city.”
In essence, the ordinance would have banned abortion in the city, and potentially affected birth control access as well, depending on how the language in the ordinance is interpreted. The ordinance was pushed in part by Tim and Terri Palmquist, a husband and wife team who do clinic protests, run their own “pro-life training and ministry,” and rub elbows with anti-choice luminaries like Norma “Jane Roe” McCorvey and Joe Scheidler. Despite that support, the city council rejected the idea, citing its unconstitutionality.
The Bakersfield effort is indicative of the double-edge sword that local ordinances can play when it comes to abortion access. With some 87 percent of all counties in the nation lacking an abortion provider, and courts beginning to weigh in on whether it is an undue burden for a state to pass laws that will close the last remaining abortion providers within its borders, city councils can be as tempting a target for anti-choicers as they are for pro-choice advocates.
Phil Gingrey backed up Todd Akin's claim that women routinely lie about being raped to cover up consensual sex, and that "legitimate" rapes have contraceptive powers. Too bad for him there's not much evidence of either contention.
There is no such thing as a belief so roundly mocked, so thoroughly silly, or so routinely reviled that conservatives will uniformly back away from. That’s the main lesson that people appear to be taking away from Rep. Phil Gingrey’s baffling decision to use his past as an ob-gyn to continue promoting the idea that rape has a contraceptive effect.
I’ve delivered lots of babies, and I know about these things. It is true. We tell infertile couples all the time that are having trouble conceiving because of the woman not ovulating, ‘Just relax. Drink a glass of wine. And don’t be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate.’ So he was partially right wasn’t he?
Well, you know what they say: Not everyone graduates in the top half of their class in medical school. (Gingrey’s own history of having to pay out a massive medical malpractice award seems to have influenced his passion for pushing for bills limiting the amount courts can award wronged patients.) As with Akin before him, the coverage of Gingrey’s comments has mostly been in the “OMG Republicans really hate science” frame, and it’s been pointed out that he’s served on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and the Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation. This is all well and good; I think it’s important to hold elected officials accountable for disdaining reality, especially if they abuse titles like “doctor” to spread misinformation around. Sadly, being an M.D. doesn’t magically prevent determined individuals from spreading misinformation.
What he meant by legitimate rape was just, look, someone can say I was raped: a scared-to-death 15-year-old that becomes impregnated by her boyfriend and then has to tell her parents, that’s pretty tough and might on some occasion say, ‘Hey, I was raped.’ That’s what he meant when he said legitimate rape versus non-legitimate rape. I don’t find anything so horrible about that.
The Legend of the Lying Slut is spread around so much that even a lot of anti-rape activists fall into the trap of thinking that false reports of rape are commonly instances of a woman having consensual sex with a man and then later falsely accusing him of rape. But as I reported at Slate, the experts at the National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women, who put together the handbook on false rape reports, say that’s not actually the case. Instead, they say that false rape reports frequently involve a woman claiming she was raped by a stranger who attacked her suddenly, and she often describes him as vaguely as possible.
Even the cases of false accusation that rape apologists frequently dwell over have little in common with this fantasy of a woman having consensual sex and then “crying rape”. Neither the Duke lacrosse case and the Tawana Brawley case involved a woman having consensual sex with a man and then falsely accusing him of rape.
There are, sadly, hundreds of known cases of men being falsely convicted of rape, but alas for Gingrey and other rape apologists, these also have no resemblance to the fantasy of a woman accusing a man of rape after having consensual sex with him. If you comb through the archives at the Innocence Project, you’ll find a pattern emerges: A woman is raped by a stranger and the wrong man is convicted for the crime. In other words, the rapes did happen, and the women are not lying. The false convictions are the result of bad eyewitness testimony or prosecutorial misconduct, but pretty much never because women are trying to hide consensual sex.
Even Norma McCorvey, who falsely claimed to have been raped in an attempt to get the desired abortion that became the center of Roe v Wade, didn’t find some innocent man to press charges against. You’d think, with all the energy and time invested by anti-feminists in promoting this myth that women routinely have consensual sex with men and then accuse them of rape, they’d be able to find a case or two that actually fits that model to champion, instead of having to rely on cases that aren’t really like that at all.
With so little real world evidence for this supposed epidemic of women concealing their “naughty” behavior by falsely accusing the men they sleep with of rape, why do men like Gingrey continue to insist that this is a problem and even make up fake scientific claims to support it? It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that they don’t actually think rape is a real crime in many cases, and that women who are sexually active or drink or otherwise don’t follow the extremely strict Rules for Ladies laid out by the religious right have it coming if they’re raped. Rape and forced childbirth converge under the umbrella of due punishment to be dealt out to women who don’t follow the rules. If you can inflict both on the same unfortunate victim, well, consider that a double whammy in “bad” girls getting punished.